The Australian National Curriculum (ANC) divides maths into three strands:
- numbers and algebra,
- measurement and geometry,
- statistics and probability.
Maths is a core topic to teach to children. It is easy to test as there is a clear right and wrong answer. Some children are math geniuses and they will rip through the textbooks quickly and effortlessly. I’ve had one of those (but I take no credit for it as it came naturally to him). My others have needed much more instruction.
I have always used textbooks for my children’s homeschool math lessons. I’ve also supplemented their math lessons with math games, cooking activities, measuring and money counting. You can also use good living math books for reading.
There are many opinions on how to teach math and it’s not my specialty. I don’t want to sway you toward a particular math program as I have jumped around a lot myself over the past 14 years. You will need to research how you want to teach this topic. If you choose to use an American curriculum then remember that they teach a different syllabus, no geometry till around 5th grade, imperial measurements and American money. They also use some mathematical terms that aren’t commonly used in Australia.
These are some popular math programs used by homeschoolers:
- Math Online (Australian) – this is the program that I am using now. I really like it and they have a homeschool discount price. Read my math-online review and find the discount link here.
- Math U See (You can buy an Australian edition) Lots of homeschoolers love this resource.
- Singapore Math (Singapore addition has metric). I used this till 6th grade for all my kids and I really liked it. They follow a similar program to the Australian syllabus. Get it here.
- Life of Fred (American) I do like this program but it’s really best used as a supplement. The terms used are often advanced and the measurement and money problems require extra effort to solve because we aren’t used to the American terms. The story of Fred and his ridiculous math problems delighted my children and they read them for fun. Get it here.
- Right Start Math (American)
- Saxon Math (American)
- MEP – A free British math primary program. You’ll find the website here. It looks a bit overwhelming at first but it’s very good.
- Teaching Textbooks (American) -Computer program. Many of my friends use it and swear by it.
- Targeting Math (Australian)
- Khan Academy is another place to go for particular lectures on concepts. It’s free to join.
It’s usually best to start all of your lessons with concrete example – not just addition. For counting and addition Charlotte Mason encourages counters, using buttons, beans and dominoes. For adding money use real money. Introduce textbooks but make sure children grasp counting and addition by testing them yourself with questions
Learning the timetables can be a struggle. Kids need a lot of practise with this and once they know them maths becomes easier. Flash cards, verbal drill, and speed drills. You can usually begin teaching a form of multiplication using skip counting. 2-4–6- 8 etc.
Mostly we use the tests that are provided with the resources we are using. If you really want to do NAPLAN you can still do it as a homeschooler in Australia. Just contact them and ask them how you can register. We’ve never done them but I know some homeschoolers want to.
Don’t overload your child with a range of different concepts in one lesson. In the early years keep the lessons short around 10 to 20 minutes. Have children apply careful attention to their lessons.
Drill and Revision
Children do need revision of concepts, formulas, and measurements. I have found that a short daily drill book on things they have already learnt to be an essential part of their math lessons. I use these in addition to their textbooks. For primary school you can usually find these types of books in bookstores stores and newsagents- especially around the time of NAPLAN testing.
Our Math Copywork and Multiplication is an independent activity to encourage your children to practice writing math words and learn their times tables.